Tokyo Damage Report

Emperor’s Birthday: traditional uyoku riot

December 23, the Emperor Akihito’s birthday.


celebration, Japanese style!


The traditional way of celebrating your love for the Emperor is to spend his whole birthday being mad as hell. And the traditional way to display your love for your country is to go out and fight with the police! At least, that’s the case if you’re an Uyoku (right-winger). There are so many uyoku running around town on the 23d that you don’t even need a flyer to find the riot. My only plan was “Hop on a bike and listen for yelling.” Within 5 minutes of leaving my house, I found ‘em, the rascals! At first it was just 5 demonstrators on foot, but within minutes they had been joined by 6 or so trucks. Plus around 50 police.


Adding to the confusion – both sides had the same Mad-Max-looking riot cars,


and both even dressed the same – blue fatigues and peaked caps. The only difference was the police were more likely to wear suits, too. There were only 5 people watching, which is odd for a demonstration and would usually qualify it as a failure! But the uyoku’s goal in this instance was not to change public opinion on a subject, they just wanted to cross this police barricade. I asked one of the 5 citizens, and he said that there was an “anti-Emperor meeting” in a building and the cops wouldn’t let the uyoku go there and beat up the people, so that is why the barricade.

But considering that these guys think that 99% of human behavior on Earth is “anti-Emperor”, it was not the best explanation. Suggesting that the Emperor might be partly responsible for WWII was enough to provoke the assassination of the mayor of Nagasaki – over 45 years AFTER the war.

Even saying that the Emperor KNEW about the war, like, at all, probably qualifies for assassination. “Maybe he read it in the paper, you know, or possibly heard the bombers leveling his city–” “SILENCE!”

But that is neither here nor there. The uyoku were circling the block, shouting threats, and police were measuring the volume of the loudspeakers with microphones attached to tape measures.


The whole thing was very pro-wrestling: “I’m going to get in that ring tonight and smack your face off! It will land on your mother!!” Very exciting and yet ritualized: nobody did anything, and no one got in trouble.

The way that the uyoku and police can be so antagonistic and yet work together to suppress anti-government dissent is a real head-spinner. In fact I heard one police blame the whole brouhaha on the “anti-emperor” group, while explaining it to a passer-by. Best moment of the demo: with 40 uyoku waiting outside, the cops open the barricade. . . . for a pizza deliveryman DRESSED AS SANTA. Fuckin-A right, Santa gets in.







Not yet satisfied, I headed to Shibuya station, the epicenter of superficial materialism, and found myself in the middle of a heated religious debate. Some OTHER right-wingers had parked 6 trucks in the middle of the busy 4-lane street and set up a podium in front of the xmas tree.

My friend the Researcher was right: they DO talk totally different when they are in front of a train station. When yelling at the cops they use these retarded gangsta-kabuki voices, but when attempting to win converts they speak normal Japanese, so I was fortunately able to translate a little:


“Why do Japanese, on Dec 24 th, celebrate Christmas Eve? Why do we celebrate this holiday– which we don’t even know what it means!! – and yet not only do we celebrate it but we do so INSTEAD OF CELEBRATING OUR OWN EMPEROR’S BIRTHDAY?? It is spitting in the face of our ancestors! What has the japan of today become?? Don’t celebrate Christmas! This is not a Christian country! Respect the Emperor! What is this tree doing here? Can anyone tell me what the tree even means?” and so on.


It struck me as being the exact same as Bill O’Reily and his girlfriends who get their knickers in a knot over this “war on christmas” : even though they are saying the opposite message, the TONE is the same: being totally outraged over some totally petty, symbolic nonsense.


Even more ironic: this is SHIBUYA. No one here gives a shit about Christianity to begin with! This is the least spiritual place except for maybe Vegas. The uyoku had to kick out the Christian preachers in order to even do their speech- the Christians had to sort of forlornly wait on the other side of the street with small bullhorns until the uyoku were done. But for God’s sake – preachers DON’T COME TO AREAS FULL OF CHRISTIANS if you have not noticed. If anyone in Shibuya gave a rat’s ass about jesus, there wouldn’t be a need for missionaries in the first place, you douchebags!! The Shibuya crowd don’t care about the Emperor OR Jesus. All they care about is plastic shit with sequins on it and herpes vaccine. So in a way the Uyoku has more in common with the Christians than the Japanese: both groups are advocating ideology over popularity, submitting to authority, and love of some principle over shallow, consumer-driven materialism.


But this is the kinds of shades-of-grey that these idealogues don’t see.



p.s. The Christians were kind of asshats too: their spiel (all in the nicest possible language, of course) was, "Do you want to go to hell? Don’t you have a lot of sins already? Jesus can forgive you! He died for you and you should feel terrible about that. Sinner." What the hell? No wonder nobody wnats to be Chrisitan here. Imagine if a big-time ad agency adopted that strategy for, say, TIDE detergent:


"Hey stinky! Yeah, you, fecal-breath! Got enough odors over there? A dog just died. Whatsamattawitchu??? Use some TIDE and smell better. TIDE died for your stench. You owe TIDE! Frankly, you should count yourself lucky that we’re even LETTING you buy TIDE. I mean, you killed it 2000 years ago, by rights it SHOULD be coming back for revenge on your ass — your foul, feculent, encrusted stenchy ass that nobody could ever love. But noooo, TIDE is giving you one last chance."

I don’t hate all Christians, but fuck’s sake, man. There are so many cool parts of the Bible, there is no need to be a dick of a preacher. Why not "Do you hate it when people lie and steal and get all violent and cheat on their boyfriend or whatever? We can fix that. We’re totally against that stuff. "


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